It is a matter of fact the debates whether baseball’s antitrust exemptions should be eliminating is still the agenda as no single agreement has been achieved. Actually, the debates started in 1901 when Napoleon Lajoie decided to join a new team and such action was claimed to violate the National League contract. It meant he had either to continue playing in his original team or to leave baseball.
As a result of the conflict, the National Agreement was signed in 1930 claiming that all of the owners are allowed jointly operate the monopoly. According to this agreement, the rules about salaries and contracts of all players were established. Nevertheless, the year of 1998 played crucial role in the debates as the Congress passed the Curt Flood Act and baseball’s antitrust exemptions were recalled and voided.
I think that antitrust exemption is a double-edged weapon and either to eliminate or to promote has both negative and positive aspects. My opinion is that antitrust exemptions should be eliminated, but, it is necessary to discuss different perspectives of the argument to have clear understanding of the problem.
On the one hand, baseball antitrust exemptions shouldn’t be eliminated because they give professional baseball players and excellent opportunity to ensure and sustain high quality of play because the number of professional teams is restricted and all teams are playing, therefore, in major leagues demanding proper skills and training. No team is willing to be defamed. From this perspective, antitrust exemptions make players work hard raising the popularity of baseball in the country.
It is argued that baseball tickets are relatively low as teams have to compete for fans and expensive tickets would prevent them from professional sport and they would find another ways of entertainment. For example, Raymond Keating in his paper supports antitrust exempts mentioning that they ensure teams are in one city. In such a way, antitrust exemptions defend players from owners who may wish to relocate forces. Keating says that exemptions should be provided for all professional sports.
On the other hand, antitrust exemptions should be banned primarily because they give sense of superiority over other professional teams and sports. It is claimed that antitrust exemptions keep the tickets relative cheap, but the real situation is another. It is antitrust exemptions that have resulted in increased prices for tickets. Public funding is spent to reconstruction of older stadiums and construction of new ones. Advocates of exemptions claim that baseball players stay in current locations, but players may undergo pressures and threats from the major baseball league.
Moreover, exemptions cause discrimination and inequality in opportunities as other leagues are unable to stay in one location because it violates antitrust laws. If to eliminate antitrust exemptions, additional teams would be formed in cities which are fond of baseball. In other words, cities wouldn’t be afraid that team would leave the city in case if a new stadium isn’t constructed.
As I mentioned above, antitrust exemption allows leagues to abuse power utilizing illegal resources and influences to scratch people’s money. Simply speaking, cities are forced to use pub expenses to build new sport stadiums and provide major league with all necessitates. If new teams are formed, baseball fans will be provided with more services and cheaper tickets. It will increase the demand for professional baseball and admission prices will be reduced as well.
Moreover, eliminating antitrust exemption will prove that cities are able to support more teams, though earlier it was claimed that it was prodigally to support many professional sports leagues. Nevertheless, cities would even save money as public expenses won’t be spent on building new stadiums.
For example, Raymond Keating in their paper recommend “breaking up existing leagues into competing business entities”. Summing up, despite certain benefits, I think that antitrust exemptions should be eliminated as it will assist in forming new teams, reducing public expenses, ensuring cheaper tickets, and providing equal opportunities for all teams.
Barra, Allen. (2000). In Antitrust We Trust. Retrieved October 8, 2007, from http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2000/05/19/antitrust/
Keating, Raymond J. (1997). The Economic Woes of Pro Sports: Greed or Government? Retrieved October 8, 2007, from http://www.libertyhaven.com/…/ecowoes.shtml